PSYC 7580 Directed Readings: Advanced Topics

Fall, 2014

Dr. Chris Mruk, Professor of Psychology
Bowling Green State University

Phone: 419-433-5560, Ext: 20612
E-mail address:
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Advanced readings will be assigned as part of the course involves developing a reference list for material on a particular theme related to self-esteem and/or positive psychology. (The theme of this year's course is self-esteem and culture.)


The general goal of an advanced directed readings course is to allow a graduate student to pursue work in an area not ordinarily taught as a specific course or to acquire more detailed knowledge about a specific area than a regular course allows. This particular offering of PSYC 7850 is designed to help the student pursue an advanced theme in which the instructor has published. Typically the course concerns work in the fields of self-esteem, positive psychology, or where they overlap.

Usually, the course will center around two themes. The first is to explore the existing literature on the question or theme to date and may include some related field work to help clarify the question. The second is to write a paper that reaches a reasonable conclusion concerning the question or issue based on contemporary work. However, rather than a typical student paper, this one shall be developed as a draft that may be suitable to mold into an article for a professional journal.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, the student should be able to summarize the major characteristics of what is known about the issue or theme identified for advanced study, develop a reasoned position on the matter, and express it in a way that is consistent with the publication standards of the field, including proper APA form.


The requirements of the course include identifying contemporary work on the issue, as well as becoming familiar with its arguments and their rationale. Part of the course may also involve investigating this question in a field setting. The final requirement will be a 30 page paper that describes the program, reviews its literature, and then argues for a particular position on the matter in a way that could stand as an acceptable draft for a professional article on the topic. In order to facilitate this process, the student must provide a reference list at the end of the first month, report on his or her investigations during the second month, offer a draft of the article in the third, and a final draft at the end of the semester. The class will be offered as "web-centric" meaning that some interaction will occur in an electronic format as well as face-to-face meetings.

Student assessment will take place via five activities: meetings, literature review, exploratory work, rough draft, and final draft. A letter grade will be assigned to each component and they, in turn, will determine whether the student passes or fails the course.


Of course, cheating in any form cannot be tolerated and students are referred to the "Academic Honesty" section of the current Student Code/Affairs Handbook for specific information concerning definitions of cheating, plagiarism, other offenses, and their respective penalties beyond the one for violating class policies. All violations will be reported. Students with documented special needs must notify the instructor of them well in advance of when they could present a difficulty if the individual wishes to receive reasonable accommodation. Students are expected to use the computer responsibly and in ways that are consistent with general university guidelines concerning email, posting, linking, or sharing files, and so forth.

Class cancellations: The BGSU Firelands Faculty handbook requires faculty to notify students that if class is canceled by the instructor for such reasons as illness, students will be notified through their Blackboard accounts. Be sure to check them if you are concerned about a class being canceled. Grades of "Incomplete" must be approved by the instructor, who gives them only under extremely extenuating circumstances occurring near the end of the semester. Requests to extend an incomplete must be made to the Dean's office before the appropriate deadline has passed.

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